Land Protection Agreement Opens Access In Lake County
CDOW Press Release
LEADVILLE, Colo. - A four-way partnership between the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW), Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas, and private landowners has resulted in a perpetual conservation easement on 3,200 acres of important wildlife habitat and scenic open space in Lake County.
Owners of the Moyer Ranch entered the agreement to keep the land as a working ranch and preserve its vital wildlife habitat. In addition, about a third of the ranch will be open to seasonal access to hunters
A conservation easement is a legal property interest that compensates a landowner for relinquishing certain development rights as a way to ensure the long-term protection of the land. The Moyer family received
approximately $4.8 million in return for conceding future development rights on the property. The Division of Wildlife and GOCO each contributed $2.4 million. The Moyer family donated additional considerations including previous conservation considerations reached with the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas in 2007.
"We are very pleased we were able to be a part of the cooperative effort to protect this important wildlife habitat," said DOW Area Manager Jim Aragon. "The Moyer family's desire to protect the land, the wildlife
resource, and to continue with their land stewardship and ranching heritage was key to getting this project done."
"This has been such a great project," said Bruce Goforth of the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas. "It will preserve the agriculture, wildlife habitat and water resources on the last, large, working ranch in Lake County. And the water preserved will continue to flow down the Arkansas River, ensuring water quantity, quality, and good fish habitat for many miles."
The Moyer Ranch has diverse wildlife populations including bighorn sheep, deer, elk, mountain lions, black bears, and an abundant variety of birds, small mammals, and other non-game wildlife. The property also
features several pristine feeder streams that connect to the Arkansas River.
According to Tom Martin, the local wildlife officer, the DOW's conservation easement consists of multiple parcels. Most of the tracts are contiguous but some overlap others, and many are irregular shapes
located on the steep hillsides.
Approximately 1,350 acres will be open for hunting and fishing. Hunting access will be limited to rifle season deer, elk, and bear and limited archery and rifle hunting for bighorn sheep. Public fishing access will be allowed on portions of Iowa and Empire Gulches.
In addition, the Moyer Family and Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas have agreed to allow fishing access on a stretch of Arkansas River upstream from the Hwy. 24 overpass at Hayden Meadows for nine-tenths of a mile to the Crystal Lake State Trust property. Access points, parking areas, and signs still need to be posted, but the DOW hopes to have that done in the next few months. The result will be that the public will have
fishing access to a contiguous stretch of the Upper Arkansas River that is over seven miles long.